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Josef Heuger of Heuger-Gartenbaubetriebe on hellebore season
"Germany: "Ideal circumstances for a smooth season"
Josef Heuger and his daughter Maria Heuger of Heuger at the IPM Essen 2017 in Essen, Germany. They won the Novelty award for the Hellebore Ice ‘N Roses.
Increasing popularity for new varieties
The hellebore assortment of Heuger consists currently of 55 hellebore varieties in 8 different pot sizes. "We grow many hellebore varieties, from the traditional Christmas rose, to Lenten Roses, Snow Roses and our latest very successful new introductions the Ice N´Roses Series." The demand for the traditional varieties remains the highest, but the newer varieties seem to increase in popularity. "HGC Wintergold is by far our number 1 variety among the traditional Christmas roses", he says. "This variety is on the market for a number of years and is still highly demanded." However, according to Heuger, the demand for these classic varieties is not increasing, but remains stable. This is in contrast to the demand for newer varieties. "The demand for the Ice N' Roses series exceeded all expectations this year."
On the left: 'Ice N' Roses White', in the middle: 'Ice N' Roses Rose', on the right: 'Ice N' Roses Red'
Ice N' Roses
The Ice N' Roses series is quite a new series in the assortment of Heuger and combines the early flowers of Christmas Roses with the multiple colors of Lenten Roses and the robust nature of Snow Roses. The demand for this series increased sharply and at the IPM Essen in Germany this year, it won two awards. "In the "Perennials" category, the expert panel voted our Ice N' Roses from the Helleborus Gold Collection Innovation 2017. And for the first time, IPM visitors were also given a say and they have chosen the Ice N' Roses series as their favorite from among 61 plant novelties. The Ice N' Roses series currently consists of three colors; white, rose and red.
Heuger grows hellebore on about 10ha and are supplied to the direct market, the vast majority in Germany, but to other European countries as well, with a focus on Switzerland and Italy. He is very happy with the demand over the last season. "Plants flowered one week earlier than last year and first Sunday of advent was a week later than last year. Sales always peak two weeks before the first Sunday of Advent, so ideal circumstances for a smooth running season as sales and work is spread over a longer period of time. Weather was not always favorable, but the long sales period made up for that", he says.
This year, Heuger decided to increase the number of the newer varieties because they were short in supply last year. This in turn, results in a bit higher average prices. "The average prices increased a bit this year, but this is mainly due to a higher percentage of newer varieties that are priced higher", he says.
Season coming to an end
The season is coming to an end for Heuger. "We have one last order going out on Wednesday this week then all Christmas roses will be gone. Lenten roses and Snow roses that are scheduled for spring sales are of course still in the greenhouse."
Next to breeding and producing hellebore, Heuger is one of the 3 partners in the Hydrangea Breeders Association bv. and grows hydrangea young plants, pre-finished plants and finished plants in their, in total, 30 ha of greenhouse and outdoor production, that is located in Glandorf, North Western Germany. Heuger supplies young plants worldwide. Finished plants are sold through all of Europe, but the main focus lies on Germany .
From January 23 till January 26, 2018, the IPM Essen will be held in the Messe Essen in Essen, Germany. Heuger will be present at this trade fair and showcasing their varieties in Hall 1.0 Booth 1B21.
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